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Is 'art' a dirty word at Sundance?

Sundance Institute President and Founder Robert Redford speaks ontage during the premiere of 'Whiplash' at the Eccles Center Theatre during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

We're about 5 days into the Sundance Film Festival underway in Park City Utah. 

By the end, about 50 thousand people will go to the mountains to watch documentaries and art house films. A somewhat smaller number are there to make deals -- agents and studio executives looking for the next bit hit.

Wesley Morris is film critic at Grantland and is in Park City for the festival. He told Kai Ryssdal that he's noticed a trend this year: Production value is up, and studio execs are increasingly stingy:

"I don't think you can get away now with a movie that looks like it was shot on a camera phone. I think the aesthetic bar is just higher now. And I think in some ways, these directors aren't making movies aimed at the audience like you and me. They're talking to the executives and they're making movies that say to the executives, 'Hey, I can make something that looks great.' Because in some ways this is really two festivals. This is a festival for the market and the business people, and it's a festival for people who want to experience something special."


About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.


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